Global Co-Head of Consumer Products Banking | Citigroup

The market Elinor Hoover is charged with helping Citigroup and its worldwide customer base navigate is in major flux. Though massive conglomerates dominate consumer products, 70% of the fastest-growing brands are independently owned operations.

As part of an effort to make sense of the shifting market, last year she pressed Citi to launch a major investment banking advisory initiative to expand coverage of the new players exploding into the marketplace.

Against that backdrop, Hoover, the global co-head of Citi's consumer products division, finds the pace of change for women in financial services to be extraordinarily slow.

"If you look at the numbers in financial services among the bulge bracket firms, there doesn't appear to have been a significant change in the number of women, particularly at the C-suite or executive leadership level," she said.

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For companies doing business with the consumer products sector, the lack of women in top leadership marks a sharp contrast with the clients they are serving. "In the context of these emerging growth consumer companies, and certainly the consumer products sector as a whole, there are a fair number of women in key decision-making roles," she said. "This strength of female executive leadership exists nearly across the board."

At Citi, Hoover is working to improve the gender balance, and last year initiated an effort that helped double the percentage of women in its entry analyst class compared with 2015.

"I pushed to establish a formal review process to re-evaluate female candidates who made it to the final interview round, but did not ultimately receive an offer," she said. "Through this new committee process, we began to routinely review, re-interview and re-evaluate highly qualified female candidates who might otherwise have not been afforded a spot in Citi's analyst program. And incredibly, nearly all of the reviews resulted in offers!"